For lovers of the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, this holiday season there is no place like the Marriott Theatre. Back by popular demand, from now until January 4th, the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences is presenting this classic for families to enjoy!
Audience members will follow Dorothy, Toto and her friends down the yellow brick road in this one-hour theatrical production based off of the 1939 movie. The Marriott’s production of The Wizard of Oz is directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell with musical direction by Ryan T. Nelson. The all-star Chicago area cast features Dara Cameron as Dorothy, Alex Goodrich as Tinman, Jeff Max as The Lion, George Keating as The Scarecrow and Susan Moniz as The Wicked Witch. Together they performsongs from the movie such as “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” making it impossible to not clap and sing along, which is encouraged, by the way.
Because the play is put on by the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences it is more interactive and less scary. The cast members enter and leave the stage, which is centered in the middle of the audience, through the aisles. If you are lucky enough to sit in a seat near an aisle they may interact with you. However, if you are unable to get an aisle seat – no worries! Every seat is a good seat in this intimate theatre. Unlike regular plays where you have to be quiet, the audience was encouraged to clap along to all of the songs and even sing. My two-year-old son even got up and was dancing in front of his seat during the songs. The best part about the children’s productions is the question and answer session after the show where you can ask the cast anything, find out how the play worked and even find out if the actress who plays the wicked witch is really mean in real life.
Don’t let the fact that this play is for young audiences stop you from bringing your big kids or grandma! I would recommend this play for all ages — 2 to 102. I was entertained by the story line as it is very similar to the popular movie that I have seen hundreds of times. I enjoyed the talented singing and the beautiful costumes, especially the costume of the Oz. I took my two year old, who loves the Wizard of Oz, but sometimes gets antsy during movies. However, he was able to watch this entire presentation as it was only one hour long. The fact that he was able to get up and dance and clap also helped as he has a lot of energy. The play wasn’t scary, however he got scared (and would say “go home!”) during the changing of sets when all of the lights would go out and the theatre would be completely dark for a few seconds. He got over it very quickly and was very happy to watch the play as soon as the lights came back on. It is just something to note or discuss with your kids before going if they are scared of the dark. Overall, we had a great experience and would highly recommend The Wizard of Oz to anyone looking for a perfect first theatre experience or something to do with the relatives in town.
The Wizard of Oz plays most Thursdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. with some performances at 12:30 p.m. Most of the performances have been selling out so buy tickets quickly. Visit Marriott Theatre or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates may vary and to buy tickets. Single ticket prices are $15 per person. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling 847.634.5909. Free parking is available at all shows.
Disclosure: I received tickets to the press opening of The Wizard of Oz to facilitate in my review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.